Wembley: Anger as council 'bullies' opposition over library demolition
- Credit: SKPPRA
Demolition has started at Preston Community Library as Brent Council continues to come under fire for "suppressing opposition" to its plan.
In January 2020, the authority passed proposals for a replacement library and 12 council homes in Carlton Avenue East, Wembley.
South Kenton Preston Park Residents Association (SKPPRA) has long stood against the project, which it says overlooks and impacts on the amenity and privacy of the adjoining owners.
Members have said the demolition jeopardises the council’s efforts to be carbon neutral.
Earlier this year, a judicial review – a potentially expensive legal option, lodged by a SKPPRA member – reached the High Court. It was ruled that the council’s planning committee acted outside its own governing Local Plan in passing the project.
The court’s ruling sent the proposal back to the council, but largely unchanged plans were then able to survive a second judicial review, despite it again being deemed unlawful by the High Court.
This was thanks to the Labour-run council invoking a legal protection brought in – under the Thatcher government, ironically – to prevent projects being quashed in the courts.
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Councillor Michael Maurice, part of the opposition Tory group, said: “The petitioners who brought the review in the first place couldn't appeal to the Court of Appeal as they had run out of money.
“Having won, Brent Council then applied for their [legal] costs from the resident, putting a charge on her house [potentially for £5,000].
“Brent Council is bullying residents into accepting the status quo.”
The demolition works have now started and construction of the new building is due to begin next year, with completion expected in 2023.
A spokesman for Brent Council said: “The planning committee considered all relevant aspects of this scheme on January 22, 2020 and decided that planning permission should be granted.
“The current building is considered inadequate in terms of energy use. The new scheme meets all requirements and will create a much more efficient, low energy building. It will also deliver a new community library and 12 homes for council tenants.”